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Saving a Life
Surreptitiously, I skidded down the narrow hallway. The ship rocked endlessly, causing me to collide with a woman who responded in protest. I cut her profanity from my mind, and kept on running; I still hadn’t gained my sea legs. My dry eyes furtively averted the accusatory glances of the fellow passengers. I should be crying, yet my face remained expressionless, and my dazed eyes not stained with a single tear. At the end of the hallway, I turned right and threw myself into the vacant bathroom. I turned away from the door, and gawked at the person before me.
I stretched my arm toward the girl trapped in the mirror. It was like I had never seen this person before. Her disheveled dark brown hair lay determinedly flat upon her aching shoulders. A pair of piercing green eyes stared out of hollow sockets, with deep blue circles lining the bottoms. Cuts were painted red across her face, with identical ones scattered over the rest of her pale-skinned body. On the outside the gashes healed. On the inside, they still bled painfully. Had I really changed that much in just three days? Three days ago…
I shook my head forcefully. My mind was not permitted to wander that far back. To bask in revelry just as I had done on day one seemed miles from reality. On day two, I was angry, and stubborn, wondering why I was the victim of such injustice. I hadn’t let one word escape from my bare lips in three days. I hadn’t cried in three days. And now as day three comes to a close…
Could I do it? I gazed back into the mirror, confirming to this new version of myself. My eyes flickered, a sparkle of green tinted with fear. Don’t give yourself time to think about it, just do it, I tried to tell myself. I brazenly grabbed my small worn bag with a swift hand. In about two seconds it was unzipped and I reached cautiously for my prize. I took the shiny, sharp-edged object from the bag. Then with the same fluid motion, I retrieved its identical twin. I laid both razor blades on the edge of the sink. I looked at the first one, then at its backup. I was definitely going to do this. I vigilantly picked up the first blade and held it undecidedly, just barely touching my skin, first at my arms, then at my throat. The cold metal caused goosebumps to erupt all over my arms. I needed to get this over with quickly.
Then abruptly the pain seared in my mind. Not physical pain, that I wasn’t scared of. The pain of physically dying was bearable, at least after all I had been through in the past three days. Pictures began displaying rapidly in my mind, despite my efforts to keep them at bay. I watched the slideshow of my entire life reeling in the back of my head. Images, and scenes from the first day that I remembered the world, were thrust into my line of vision, all up until six months ago, when I met him. Instantaneously, a picture of him flew to mind. The one I was trying so hard to empty from my cluttered head. The one person whom I still disbelieved wasn’t by my side…holding my hand…
What was life without him? What about all the things we had plotted to do together? What about all the promises that will go unfulfilled? What about the fact that I never received my chance for goodbye?
I couldn’t go on to day four. Gently lifting the razor blade, I held it at my throat. I pressed down firmly, and a tiny quantity of blood trickled down along my collarbone. I slowly began to glide the blade to the right. This new me was nearly immune to the pain. I was interrupted when I heard a knocking on the door. Evidently I had overstayed my welcome, and it was demanded that I come out. There was a line.
Panic rushed into my eyes. My gaze dashed from the mirror back to my trembling hand. I needed to hurry. I forced the blade down again, into my already bleeding skin. The blood gushed out quicker this time, darker and heavier. Again, I quickly shifted my eyes away from the mirror. All the while, the knocking on the door had transformed into pounding. The people in waiting were becoming agitated. My muscles tensed, and I jammed the blade a little too forcefully into my increasingly paler skin. The blood began to ooze. My hand would no longer remain steady. I held it by the wrist using my other hand, trying to lessen the shaking, attempting to calm my nerves, as if that was possible.
The pressure had risen to the level of intoxication. I could already feel my defenses weakening. I couldn’t back out now. No, I was already in too deep. Yet, as I lifted the bloodstained razor blade to my throat for what I hoped would be the last time, my mind intuitively raced back to the scene that I prohibited myself from dwelling on in the last 3 days. He had risked his life for me. He wasn’t here with me now, only because he wanted me to be here in his stead.
Gradually it was becoming clearer. My arm was slowly lowering. My chances of survival were increasing. Why would I throw the one thing away that he had fought so desperately to save? He had to experience the agony of dying; surely I could get through the torture of living. I wasn’t about to let his death have been for nothing.
The bathroom door slowly opened, and out traipsed a girl with a scarf wrapped tightly around her neck. She used the ends of it to dab at her face, wiping away tears. The line of women waiting immediately stopped their ranting. Surely they weren’t going to blame a girl for taking too long in the restroom just because she had been crying? Avoiding eye contact with those she passed, the girl eventually made it to the ship's bow. She took out a little bag, and dropped two shiny metal objects into the icy water below, inconspicuous to those nearby. Slowly, she lifted a pair of teary green eyes toward the cloudy sky, and thought to herself, it’s okay to cry, while whispering toward the haze, “I promise to not let you die in vain.”